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Saturday, November 23, 2013
Pau Gasol scores big for the Philippines

By Dave McMenamin

LOS ANGELES -- Pau Gasol scored a game-high 24 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 102-96 win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday and it's going to cost him $24,000.

Gasol pledged before the game to donate $1,000 for every point he scored to support UNICEF's fundraising efforts in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan that recently devastated the Philippines.

Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol scored 20-plus points for just the third time in 13 games this season, and in doing so raised $24,000 to support fundraising efforts in the Philippines.
"I definitely had that motivation of scoring points tonight for the Philippines," said Gasol, who scored 20-plus points for only the third time in 13 games this season and for the first time in a win.

Gasol, who has more than 2.3 million Twitter followers, promoted the cause on his personal account, causing others to tweet to him with their own promises, ranging anywhere from $1 a point to $20 per blocked shot.

"That's what I was hoping to accomplish, to get people to also pledge and contribute and donate along with me so that we could have a bigger impact," Gasol said. "That's basically what it takes. One person can do something, but when you gather a hundred, a thousand people then the impact is much, much bigger."

Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson was one of Gasol's followers to chime in, offering $50 a point, $50 a rebound, meaning he will be cutting a $1,700 check (Gasol also had 10 rebounds) to add to the pledge. The Lakers also previously donated $150,000 to the Philippine Red Cross.

"I was thankful, touched and I really appreciated it," Gasol said of Jackson's contribution. "We have a great relationship, and I think for him to jump on board also encouraged other people to do the same, so I really appreciate his gesture and his contribution."

Jackson also tweeted that he would put up $1,000 for every charge that Gasol took against the Warriors, a pledge that went unfulfilled, even though he had an opportunity to do so in the first half.

"Charges are not my thing," Gasol said. "Phil knows that. ... It wasn't on my mind at the time. I had a lot of things, too many things, on my mind already. So, I wish I could have taken a charge to get him to contribute a little more."

Current Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni joked at Friday's shootaround that he hoped Gasol would "go broke" in pursuit of his charitable goal, meaning he was looking for a big game out of his big man, but he was not joining Jackson in padding the cause.

"I think Pau can handle it," D'Antoni said. "I'm not worried about his finances too much."

Gasol, who was named the inaugural winner of the league's Community Assist award in 2011-12, explained why he felt compelled to get involved.

"When something like this happens, a tragedy of this magnitude, I always try to contribute and get involved somehow and again, attract people to join me in the mission," Gasol said. "Thousands of people have died from this catastrophe. Millions have been affected. Their lives have been taken away from them and now they need people that have the means to help them rebuild, to give them hope and that's what we try to do."